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Thread: Is PTS the only option?

  1. #1

    Default Is PTS the only option?

    Hi, just back from the Vet with my 8 year old Rabbit. Heís recently been unable to hop as his hind leg drags, so he doesnít move around much. The vet says itís either an injury or arthritis.
    Because he canít move much, he canít lift up his rear end to urinate, heís a long haired bunny and the urine just soaks into his fur..so heís constantly saturated and the vet says he now has urine scald.

    I have vet bed in his cage, but it is still dry after heís been sitting in the same place for a while. So I doubt the urine is even reaching it.

    Heís also lost quite a bit of weight, although he still eats and drinks.

    He is in pain from his legs (is on metacam) and he has terrible teeth problems, he needs them clipped every month. All this and him sitting in urine all day, the vet said that in her opinion he should be put to sleep as his quality of life is not good.

    Iím having trouble with this as his mind is still there, heís still very affectionate despite not being able to move much. But on the other hand, I canít give him the constant care the vet says he needs, as I work and away from home 10 hours a day.

    Has anyone had a bunny like this and been able to give them a decent quality of life and still work full time? I think the worst thing is him sitting in urine all day, as weíre not there to clean him during the day. Iíve read about putting them in nappies - but they need changed every few hours too..

    He has a female bunny friend and they couldnít be without each other

  2. #2
    Moderator Zoobec's Avatar
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    I’m so sorry you and your bunny are in this situation I haven’t been in this position specifically so I can’t advise, other than that if your vet is not a rabbit savvy vet, it would be worth getting a second opinion from one that is, in case any other treatment can be offered.

    Sending lots of vibes for him.

    Binky free at the bridge Boots, you will never be forgotten xxxx

  3. #3
    Mama Doe
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    Firstly, I would get the fur clipped or shaved round his back end so that it doesn't stay wet. You can apply various nappy creams to the skin as a barrier to prevent urine scald once it is clean and dry. Urine scald should heal fairly quickly. Someone may be able to advise which creams are suitable. Puppy pads are also quite useful for keeping the area dry if he isn't very mobile, as long as the rabbits don't try to eat them. Think of it as a nappy on the floor. I have used a couple of layers of towel on top of puppy pads and change them daily or as often as needed.

    Has your vet considered treating for the EC parasite? If there is no obvious physical injury, it may be worth treating with a 28 day course of Panacur. As he is already on Metacam, that part of the treatment is already covered. The parasite causes neurological damage, typically dragging hind legs, head tilt and urinary incontinence. Panacur kills the parasite and Metacam is an anti-inflammatory, which helps with the damage the parasite causes, and hence the typical symptoms.

    Both rabbits will need treating at the same time with Panacur in order to deal with the risk of reinfection. It is a daily, oral wormer. There is a rabbit version in a syringe type tube, or you can use the 10% liquid for cats and dogs. A full clean of the environment is needed on days 21 and 28 of the treatment - basically, anything that may have urine contamination needs bleaching, a veterinary grade disinfectant such as Virkon S (from eg Amazon), or steam cleaning. The parasite is shed in the urine, so this is an important stage to have a clean start at the end of the treatment and break the lifecycle of the parasite.

    I would seriously consider this before even thinking about PTS if everything else is manageable still. You can always give some top-up syringe feeds of a Recovery powder to help with weight maintenance.

    I hope you find something that helps.

  4. #4
    Forum Buddy Liz47's Avatar
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    My first rabbit began to loose the use of her hind legs just before she reached 8, it was both her legs. She was treated for EC first of all, and then put on Metacam and had X rays. She had spondylosis and arthritis, has your rabbit had X rays done? She was put on pain relief and we modified her room so she could manage easier. She wasn't long haired but still became wet with urine, I'd check her at least three times a day around work and when needed gently bathe her and dry her off. Her appetite was good and she didn't seem frustrated by not being able to move as well so we kept going. I decided the kindest option would be to put her to sleep one evening when she could barely move and just looked fed up, her bonded partner was running around pushing her and she'd had enough. Some people think I kept her too long, others may say they'd have kept going as she was eating still but I knew she didn't have the quality of life. I was happier that I'd done the X rays though so I knew what options we had, and seen how she was coping for a while. Best of luck with your rabbit, it's a terrible situation to be in xx

    ETA: I did also have her shaved by the vet nurses regularly to manage her back end

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  5. #5
    Mama Doe
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    Have you had a full blood profile done as well? Just to make sure that there is nothing else to consider eg kidney or liver function, or an infection. It could also include a urine sample to check for a urinary tract infection which could be treated with antibiotics.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for your replies. The vet practice is on the RWAF, but the only Vet on was one weíve not had before. She didnít offer anything else except he should be PTS. I didnít meet her, but my husband said she wasnít very pleasant. So we will be taking him back to one of the regulars we use on Saturday.

    Do rabbits need to be sedated when shaved? Heís a pretty good bunny, but does kick out a bit when held - which really doesnít help his hind legs when heís getting cleaned up. They always comment on how good he is when getting his teeth clipped.

    How do you know when is the right time to PTS, even if their full personality is still there and eating and drinking? Iíd like to see how he goes for a week or so (taking one day at a time) - just to try make him more comfortable, but I also donít want him to endure more suffering. My last Bunny had a terrible ending to her life and I wished I had her PTS sooner, but I kept thinking sheíd get better. I feel heís not at that stage yet, but there does seem to be a fine line.

    Also, is it wise to separate ill bunnies from their companions, to monitor their eating and drinking?

    Thanks

  7. #7
    Alpha Buck TD86's Avatar
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    Another vote here for a 28 day course of Panacur. Don't give up within the first two weeks as there can be a dramatic improvement suddenly after that as my Mr Diggle has shown

  8. #8
    Mama Doe binkyCodie's Avatar
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    for me I always make a checklist of quality of life. basic rights and things that make your bunny, your bunny. the very basic rights would be moving without pain, eating for themselves, drinking for themselves, and things such as being able to wee and poop without issues.

    other things that make your bunny your bunny might be something they do. so my bridge bunny loved strawberries and zooming around, along with throwing cups. eventually he wasnít able to do that and his enjoyment was so low of everything in life.

    I also look at exhausting all options, but also how practical it is, and how likely it is to help.

    I had a hamster with uterine infections or cancer, we could have done a course of antibiotics - the percentage of it actually helping was pretty poor. she was also 18 months old, she was at the end of her life anyway. I only saw it as preventing her death and prolonging suffering, she had reached an old age. getting 0.1 ml of antibiotic into a hamster is pretty hard anyway. I didnít see it as Ďworth ití, which sounds awful, but I didnít. it wasnít going to do anything but prolong the inevitable.

    for me, if their basic rights of life are beginning to get pretty poor, they cant really enjoy life/have no enjoyment in the things they love, and in general treatment isnít going to be practical or likely to help, I opt for PTS. Iíd personally rather they died before they reached a point of such sickness they were suffering further.

    that being said everybody has a different view. some like to exhaust all the options even if itís just prolonging the inevitable (like theyíre at the end of their life anyway), others opt for PTS while theyíre healthy if its terminal (like cancer) so they donít see their pet when theyíre so so so unwell.

    everybody will have a different view on it and how they would do it.

    personally I make a checklist, see what quality they really have, and if its really Ďworth ití. I hate using that term with something that is living and conscious, but I suppose what I mean is if its just something that is going to happen anyways in the near future, and is likely to just try and delay death, then I think its kinder to PTS.

    sadly I have no other advice to offer; but I hope I can offer some form of comfort or another point of view on the matter of PTS. thereís no right or wrong way in reality.

    sending big hugs xx


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    rabbits are like angels; they have a way of finding people that need them, and filling an emptiness they didn't even know they had.

  9. #9
    Warren Scout
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    I'd definitely vote for x-rays, that would show any signs of bone injury, spondylosis or arthritis. Your vet doesn't sound like she was interested in doing any kind of diagnostic tests to figure out why he'd go down.

    My much adored first rabbit, Bandit, developed spondylosis, diagnosed via x-ray. She was on metacam for a long time and went from slowing down, to wobbly, to finally unable to walk. The last day she was alive she was clearly in distress from being unable to move her back legs at all and that was the point I made the decision. She was dragging herself across the floor asking to be picked up and cuddled. It's a balance- despite the fact he may well be affectionate, eating and drinking, if his level of suffering outweighs it, unfortunately we have to do the best we can for them no matter how much we love them. I carried Bandit to the vets that day and it haunts me slightly that she was happy in my arms and looking around alertly, but there was nothing more I could do for her.

    If he doesn't appear to be in immediate distress from this, by all means do tests. I have heard of rabbits making miraculous recoveries after steroid injections. The right painkillers might also make him pick up (something like gabapentin or tramadol may be more effective).

    I've had three animals sent to the great beyond and there is rarely a perfect time. Every time you wonder whether you did it too early or too late. All you can do is the best you can in the moment.
    ...................................... ~ Pandora Bea and Bailey Brychan ~ ..................................................
    ~ At the Bridge ~ Bandit Mist, Sealy Calkin, Schatje-Oren Turin, Mattie Harigen and Ciara Konijn ~

  10. #10
    Warren Veteran
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    Hi, my bunny Julie could not hop for a few years but still manage to have have a good quality life her last few years. Granted though I was not working and someone was with her all the time but she was extremely affectionate and was a foodie. She loved to eat and would play with toys and lick us to be petted.She layed on the couch while we watched TV or worked on the computer. We kept her pain free with metacam and tramadol alternating. She wasn't in a cage. We piled blankets on the floor then lined the blankets with large puppy pads then put a vet bed on top. I trimmed her fur as short as possible in the back. Keeping her as dry as possible was key. The urine ran right through the vet bed and soaked into the puppy pads. The vet bed never felt wet. I had more than one vet bed and washed them every few days. If her fur got wet I would spray her with cooled water from a spray bottle and pat her dry and use a little all natural cornstarch baby powder to help keep the fur dry and it removed most of the yellow staining. She was white. The other thing is constant stimulation. I messaged her and turned her every few hours and provided lots of chew toys and toys that she could play with. Also her vet had suggested adding alpha hay which helped with her weight and her vet had me fed her oats made with water and pure pumpkin added, She told us pure pumpkin was nourishing and good for her. She licked it off a spoon.
    Here is a link to a pic to one of my threads with pics of her.

    http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...Update-post-24
    Here are some more pics and you can see some of her toys and clear shots of how we set up her hay.
    http://forums.rabbitrehome.org.uk/sh...9-Julie-update
    We did do supplemental critical care feedings when her weight went down. The trick is to find one that the rabbit likes or add baby food to it.

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